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Wiltshire canal trust appeals for helping hands
The Kennet and Avon Canal Trust has launched a campaign to find helping hands.
The trust, which has its headquarters at Devizes Wharf, has identified £4million of work that needs to take place on the buildings it is responsible for along the length of the canal from Bath to Reading.
But it is not asking people to dig into their pockets but rather to spare a few hours a month to help out.
Rob Dean, who is taking over as chairman of the trust from Mike Rodd in January, said: “What the trust has achieved over the years is all about volunteering.
“It has brought together hundreds of people who have given thousands of hours of their time and we feel this is the right way to solve the problems that face the trust, especially in a period of financial restraint when everyone is constantly being asked to give. If we get the people, the money will follow.”
The main cause for concern is the Crofton pumping station near Burbage. Its renowned steam-driven beam engines are original and have been restored and maintained by volunteers.
Mr Dean said: “Now all we need to do is restore the building, which is in danger of falling down. It is our biggest asset and our biggest liability.”
Volunteers are also needed to develop a new visitor centre and to help out in the café.
The trust’s Devizes HQ has had a lot of money spent on it in recent years to make it structurally sound and now it needs the help of volunteers to make it work better.
Mr Dean said: “The museum feels very 1970s.
“It is difficult to attract and hold the attention of young people.”
The trust is also contemplating switching the café and the museum, to make the museum more accessible to the public.
Mr Dean said: “We want to get a lot more young people involved and we also want to collaborate with other organisations to bring the canal into the 21st century.
“To be successful in the 21st century it has to be accessible and that will be our priority.”
For more information on volunteering with the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust, visit www.katrust.org.uk and follow the instructions from the home page.